Friday, August 05, 2005

Immigration - A Key 2006 Issue

Defender of the Homeland

In many Congressional districts, the issue of immigration - legal and otherwise - is going to be a key factor for voters. Democratic candidates in close campaigns are going to have to come to grips with this explosive issue and formulate responsible and responsive positions or they are going to find themselves outflanked by Republican candidates who will demonize all immigrants and simplify immigration issues to sound bites and talking points.

In North San Diego county's 50th Congressional District, scandal plagued Republican Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham has announced that he will not run for reelection in the predominantly Republican district. There is one announced Democratic candidate, Francine Busby, who has a solid organization in place and who is off and running. On the Republican side, there is a hoard of wannabe candidates who are jockeying for position in preparation for next year's primary.

Immigration and the battle over illegal aliens is a major
San Diego county issue. The Minuteman Project is the Southern California version of The Official Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. Republican candidates in the 50th District will need to line up with organizations like these to insure that they pick up their quota of xenophobic and racist votes.

That process has already begun for some Republicans. At the extreme right, Republicans have former state Assemblyman, failed Senate candidate and rightwing shill, Howard Kaloogian. Standing right (and I mean RIGHT) next to Howard, is state Assemblyman Mark Wyland. These two can't win the Republican nomination, but they will certainly insure the focus is on those "damn illegals". As NC Time columnists, Raoul Lowery Contreras points out,

"Kaloogian and Wyland will seek support from Colorado Rep. Tancredo, who said, "Mark Wyland is the pre-eminent opponent of illegal immigration in
California." And both will run on the backs of illegal immigrants."

One of the Republicans who can win the party's nod in the 50th District primary, is State Senator Bill Morrow. Morrow will be term limited out of the state Senate and is looking at Cunningham's clouded departure as a real personal opportunity.

Morrow is unlikely to be blindsided from the right, but he isn't taking any chances. Morrow is attempting to organize a so called "town hall meeting" to discuss "The Illegal Immigration Crisis," but the get together, scheduled for next Thursday is on hold for now. It seems Morrow didn't clear the use of a public high school for his hate fest with the appropriate level of administrators and has had the meeting site cancelled.

The school administrator, Superintendent John Roach, cited violence at similar "town hall" meetings in
Southern California as his rationale for denying Morrow use of the facility.

"Roach told one of Morrow's aides in a phone call Wednesday that he was canceling the event, and then followed up that phone call with a faxed explanation to Morrow's office Thursday, just one week before Morrow's meeting was to be held at the high school.

Roach cited a school board policy that allows the superintendent to deny use "if an event poses an unreasonable risk of damage to the facility, equipment, or furnishings, and that might jeopardize the security, health, and well-being of an audience or of the community."

"Based on my understanding of the recent events in Garden Grove, Baldwin Park, and Campo, it is my belief that the event you had planned poses exactly such a risk," Roach said Thursday, reading from the letter he had faxed to Morrow's office."

"These events seem to have a tendency of gathering busloads of supporters and opposition who yell at each other and get violent. That's not an appropriate use of the facility."

Perhaps Morrow would have been able to convince the school district if his meeting was actually a forum for public discussion, but the list of scheduled speakers makes it pretty clear that the purpose of this meeting was to allow Morrow to stand beside a crew of immigrant bashers and smile and nod.

For starters, Morrow invited former
San Diego mayor Roger Hedgecock to emcee the event. Hedgecock, who was forced to resign as mayor on the day his felony convictions for conspiracy and perjury were handed down, is a right wing radio talk show host who occasionally sits in for Rush Limbaugh.

Morrow's keynote speaker was to be Representative Tom "Bomb Mecca" Tancredo,
Colorado's immigrant basher extraordinaire.

"The truth is, Tancredo opposes all immigration, including legal immigration. He doesn’t just support limited, high-skilled immigration like some of the phony “Immigration Reform” people (author Peter Brimelow, the Center for Immigration Studies –CIS’ Mark Krikorian) etc., et al) he frontally opposes all immigration, period."

Speaking of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), Morrow invited one of its former members, Pete Nunez, to participate in his immigrant bash fest town hall meeting. Nunez is a former federal attorney, with lots of experience dealing with the downside of our porous southern border. But, his former group, the CIS, is hardly an unbiased think tank.

"Let's be clear," wrote Frank Sharry of the National Immigration Forum, "CIS was birthed by FAIR, the militant anti-immigration group. The CIS executive director moved from FAIR to CIS to head up the organization. Although now independent, the two organizations share the same basic agenda: an American version of what in Europe is called 'zero immigration.'" According to Sharry,

CIS masquerades as an objective, "squeaky clean" think tank, but CIS is "simply churning out high-sounding, low-credibility grist for the high-pitch, low-road anti-immigration forces in the United States."

Rounding out Morrow's "forum" was to be
Minuteman Project founder James W. Gilchris and author Madeleine Cosman. Gilchris' credentials regarding immigration policy are crystal clear and Cosman..... Well, she see conspiracies all over the place. From the government taking away our vitimins, the United Nations trying to implement "nihilistic Fabian socialism," to destroying our health care system.

"The influx of illegal aliens has serious hidden medical consequences. We [Americans tend to] judge reality primarily by what we see. But [it is] what we do not see [that] can be more dangerous, more expensive, and more deadly than what is seen. [The] [i]llegal aliens' stealthy assaults on medicine, now must rouse Americans to alert and alarm."

There should be a meaningful debate going on in this country about immigration policy and border security. No such meaningful debate will occur when politicians like Bill Morrow seek create incendiary public forums whose only purpose is to scapegoat Hispanic immigrants and score cheap political points.

That is your Republican party.